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Environmentally friendly battery made from wood

July 24, 2013 12:01 pm | News | Comments

Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. The device, developed at the Univ. of Maryland, is 1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.

B&W applauds NNSA sites selected for 2013 R&D 100 Awards

July 11, 2013 9:01 am | News | Comments

Three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites where The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (B&W) operates have been selected as recipients of R&D Magazine's 2013 R&D 100 Awards. Sites honored include the Y-12 National Security Complex, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NREL research earns three prestigious R&D 100 Awards

July 10, 2013 9:52 am | News | Comments

A new energy-efficient approach to building occupancy detection, a better way to detect heat loss in electric-vehicle batteries and a high-efficiency silicon solar cell—all developed or advanced at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—have been named among this year’s most significant innovations by R&D Magazine.

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ORNL wins six 2013 R&D 100 Awards

July 9, 2013 3:38 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received six R&D 100 awards. The six awards bring ORNL's total of R&D 100 awards to 179 since their inception in 1963. This year, ORNL received awards for the following technologies: ClimateMaster Trilogy 40 Q-Mode Geothermal Heat Pump, Distribute The Highest Selected Textual Recommendation, V-shaped External Cavity Laser Diode Array, and more.

New catalyst could replace platinum for automotive applications

July 3, 2013 9:46 am | News | Comments

The research team from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea has developed an inexpensive and scalable bio-inspired composite electrocatalyst, designed using iron phthalocyanine, a macrocyclic compound, anchored to single-walled carbon nanotubes. Under certain conditions, the new catalyst has a higher electrocatalytic activity than platinum-based catalysts, and better durability during cycling.

A battery made of wood?

June 20, 2013 7:49 am | News | Comments

A sliver of wood coated with tin could make a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery. But don’t try it at home yet—the components in the battery tested by scientists at the Univ. of Maryland are a thousand times thinner than a piece of paper. Using sodium instead of lithium makes the battery environmentally benign, but it doesn't store energy as efficiently, so you won’t see this battery in your cell phone.

Printing tiny batteries

June 18, 2013 1:52 pm | News | Comments

3-D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand. The printed microbatteries could supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have lingered on laboratory benches for lack of a battery small enough to fit the device, yet provide enough stored energy to power them.

The science of sculpture, nano-style

June 14, 2013 9:53 am | by Angela Herring, Northeastern University | News | Comments

Nanoscopic crys­tals of sil­icon assem­bled like sky­scrapers on wafer-scale sub­strates are being intensely studied as a possible breakthrough in highly efficient battery technologies. A researcher at Northeastern University has been using computational to understand the atomic-scale interactions between the growth of nanowires and new development in this area of technology: alloyed metal droplets.

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Unzipped nanotubes unlock potential for batteries

June 13, 2013 4:04 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ. have come up with a new way to boost the efficiency of the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery by employing ribbons of graphene that start as carbon nanotubes. Proof-of-concept anodes built with graphene nanoribbons and tin oxide showed an initial capacity better than the theoretical capacity of tin oxide alone.

“Popcorn” particle pathways promise better lithium-ion batteries

June 11, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LFP), findings that could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment and aircraft.

Study provides framework for understanding the energetics of ionic liquids

June 7, 2013 4:25 pm | News | Comments

A new study by researchers at Univ. of California, Santa Barbara provides clues into the understanding of the behavior of the charged molecules or particles in ionic liquids. The new framework may lead to the creation of cleaner, more sustainable and nontoxic batteries, and other sources of chemical power.

New boron-silicon electrode could boost lithium-ion battery capacity

June 6, 2013 2:04 pm | News | Comments

Silicon can accept ten times more lithium than the graphite used in the electrodes in lithium-ion batteries, but silicon also expands, shortening electrode life. Looking for an alternative to pure silicon, scientists in Germany have now synthesized a novel framework structure consisting of boron and silicon, which could serve as electrode material.

Multiphysics in the Design of Lithium-Ion Batteries

June 6, 2013 12:37 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

New technologies, new materials, and more sophisticated modeling systems have made lithium-ion (Li-ion)-based systems the battery of choice for many designers looking to implement high-energy advanced electric power systems. For these systems, Li-ion systems have replaced nickel-metal hydride systems.

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All-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

June 5, 2013 2:59 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies that power today's electronics. The ORNL battery design, which uses abundant low-cost elemental sulfur, also addresses flammability concerns experienced by other chemistries.

Crash-testing lithium-ion batteries

June 4, 2013 8:06 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, fully rechargeable and can pack a lot of energy into a small volume—making them attractive as power sources for hybrid and electric vehicles. However, there’s a significant downside: Overheating and collisions may cause the batteries to short-circuit and burst into flames. Engineers have worked to improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries and now there may be ways to make batteries more resilient.

Scientists create novel silicon electrodes to improve lithium-ion batteries

June 4, 2013 7:55 am | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. scientists have dramatically improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries by creating novel electrodes made of silicon and conducting polymer hydrogel, a spongy material similar to that used in contact lenses and other household products. The scientists developed a new technique for producing low-cost, silicon-based batteries with potential applications for a wide range of electrical devices.

Power grid getting smarter with big battery

June 3, 2013 7:30 am | News | Comments

Research conducted with a large new battery unveiled in Oregon will help make the Northwest's and the nation's electric system smarter and more efficient, officials said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Portland General Electric's 5-MW, lithium-ion energy storage system was shared with the public Friday at the utility's Salem Smart Power Center in South Salem, Ore.

Researchers develop high-efficiency zinc-air battery

May 30, 2013 7:59 am | News | Comments

Stanford University scientists have developed an advanced zinc-air battery with higher catalytic activity and durability than similar batteries made with costly platinum and iridium catalysts. The results could lead to the development of a low-cost alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries widely used today.

Add boron for better batteries

May 16, 2013 2:20 pm | News | Comments

Frustration led to revelation when Rice University scientists determined how graphene might be made useful for high-capacity batteries. Calculations by the Rice laboratory of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson found a graphene-boron anode should be able to hold a lot of lithium and perform at a proper voltage for use in lithium-ion batteries.

Team observes real-time charging of a lithium-air battery

May 13, 2013 9:07 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

One of the most promising new kinds of battery to power electric cars is called a lithium-air battery. But progress has been slow. Researchers have used transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging to observe, at a molecular level, what goes on during a reaction called oxygen evolution as lithium-air batteries charge; this reaction is thought to be a bottleneck limiting further improvements to these batteries.

New technique to improve quality control of lithium-ion batteries

May 8, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created a new tool to detect flaws in lithium-ion batteries as they are being manufactured, a step toward reducing defects and inconsistencies in the thickness of electrodes that affect battery life and reliability. The Purdue researchers have developed a system that uses a flashbulb-like heat source and a thermal camera to read how heat travels through the electrodes.

Prototype provides pedestrian power

May 8, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

A group of Rice University mechanical engineering students are getting a charge out of having the coolest new shoes on campus. As their capstone project that is required for graduation, four seniors created a way to extract and store energy with every step. Their PediPower shoes turn motion into juice for portable electronics and, perhaps someday, for life-preserving medical devices.

New technology propels 'old energy' boom

May 4, 2013 11:52 am | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. Fossil fuels? They were going to be expensive and scarce. But in the race to conquer energy technology, Old Energy is winning.

Japan to allow airlines to resume 787 flights

April 26, 2013 3:58 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan's transport minister says the government is poised to allow Japanese carriers to resume flying the Boeing 787 once they complete repairs to problematic lithium ion batteries. Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta says in a statement on the ministry's Website that the approval could come as early as Friday night following an expected official safety order from U.S. federal regulators.

New battery design could help solar and wind power the grid

April 24, 2013 3:58 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid. The developers believe their new membrane-free battery, based on lithium and sulfur, may be the best yet designed to regulate alternative energies.

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